Allotments'r'Us says the most unlikely person

Yes, London Mayor Boris Johnson, famous for putting his foot in it, seems to think that putting his foot in a nice big heap of freshly-turned earth is the right thing to do. We won’t argue with that!

So what’s his big idea? (I can’t believe I just wrote ‘big idea’ and meant Boris, but there you go, one can be wrong in one’s early judgements.) Let me tell you, he wants to encourage backyard gardening even on flat roofs. It’s called Capital Growth and the excellent Rosie Boycott is overseeing the first phase which intends to 2,012 patches of land by 2012 for Londoners to grow food. All kinds of organisations: councils, schools, hospitals, housing estates and utility companies are supposed to pinpoint idle lands which could be converted into vegetable gardens, including mini-plots on canal and reservoirs sides and unused railway yards.

Lovely idea – I hope it happens, because with credit crunches, food miles and soaring energy costs, everybody deserves the chance to reduce their food bill and increase their quality time spent exercising in the fresh air.

Meantime, can anybody identify this beastie? We found it crawling across our enormous cold frame on plot 201 – November seems rather late for caterpillars to me, but perhaps it’s a particularly hardy brute? I carried up to the overgrown end of the plot and let it go – hardened gardeners can express their disgust now – I know I should have squashed it, but I just couldn’t! It’s the first bit of wildlife we’ve found on 201 and that made me feel like Scott finding a sauna at the North Pole!

And on Duncan's plot, the garlic, onion sets and onion seed are all showing beautifully. No difference yet in the germination or growth rates between the direct sow and the paper and paste sow onions, but we'll see how it continues ...

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Monday, November 10, 2008


Anonymous Danny said...

Dear Madam Secretary (!),

I was delighted to read your article on Boris and his Capital Growth. I think that is a brilliant idea and I must find out more about it.

Re the Monster - we used to call them Hairy Mollies as kids 40 years ago. I never did ask what they eventually turn into.


November 21, 2008 at 4:01 AM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Danny, you're a genius! That is the larvae of the Small Tortoiseshell and I'm happy, happy, happy that I didn't squish it. I love Tortoiseshells and will happily give 'em a cabbage or two for the pleasure of their company. Hurrah for common names, I love that nickname!

As for Boris, it's a fantastic idea and the more of us that tell him so, the more likely it is to reach fruition.

November 22, 2008 at 4:40 AM  

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